Intl group to be involved in genocide probe in Ukraine - Eurojust rep in Vilnius

  • 2023-04-14
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - A seven-nation investigation team will contribute to the genocide investigation in Ukraine, Lithuania's Eurojust representative said on Friday after a Vilnius meeting of the joint investigation team that includes Lithuania and the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

The Eurojust-organized meeting on Thursday and Friday was attended by members of the JIT, as well as representatives of the ICC and the United States.

"An amendment to the JIT agreement was signed during this coordination meeting to include the crime of genocide, which is being investigated in Ukraine, into the JIT work," Margarita Sniutyte-Daugeliene, vice president of Eurojust, told a press conference, adding that this "will undoubtedly contribute to the effective investigation of this crime".

In her words, Eurojust is currently developing an evidence database to centrally collect and store evidence of war crimes committed in Ukraine.

"Eurojust is also setting up an international center for the prosecution of crimes of aggression, and its main objective is to secure important evidence of the crime of aggression and, without wasting valuable time, to prepare a case on the responsibility of individuals for these crimes, wherever the trial may take place in the future," Sniutyte-Daugeliene said. "We very much hope that the center will be operational at least to some extent this summer."

For his part, US Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite said the US Department of Justice vowed on Thursday to appoint an experienced prosecutor to the newly created international center on aggression.

The department will provide "increased support" to the investigation team.

The decision to establish the International Center for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression was made at the United for Justice Conference in Lviv, Ukraine in early March. It was announced at the time that the center would act as a support structure for the JIT.

Lithuania and other countries in the region say a special tribunal would also bring Kremlin leaders to justice.

Last month, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for the illegal deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia.